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By supporting well-defined cognitive processes employed during a comprehension task, graphical representations of software could have a beneficial effect on comprehension efficiency and effectiveness. Documented empirical evidence of measurable benefits of software visualization is, however, limited in scope and often contradictory. The GRASP research project is currently evaluating the effects of software visualizations in both software engineering education as well as in software production environments. This paper describes the experimental framework and design used for evaluation in an academic setting.